Want to dress vintage like the good dancers you see out? Here are some resources to help you get that vintage swing dancer look. Guys, stay away from loud Zoot Suits. That might work in some areas of the country but in So. Cal. that is a dead giveaway for a wannabe swing dancer, to be avoided at all costs. The cool swing dancers wear authentic vintage clothing (or new clothing designed to copy authentic vintage designs) from the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. The 50’s rockabilly look can work well for certain events. Here are some links to help you get that vintage look that you’ve been looking for. Tell them you found them on SwingDance.LA!
For shoes, check out my beginner’s guide to shoes for Swing dancing!
L.A./O.C. Vintage Clothing Stores
- Aardvark – Costume and vintage clothing store in Redondo Beach. I got a sweet 1940’s authentic Navy uniform here. You might need to dig through a lot of racks to find suitable stuff for Swing dancing though.
- American Vintage – Vintage clothing in Sherman Oaks.
- Bettie Page Clothing – 50′s and rockabilly women’s clothing, with a location on Hollywood Blvd.
- Clever Vintage Clothing – “Your one-stop vintage clothing shopping destination in the heart of downtown L.A.’s fashion district.”
- George’s Dance Shoes – Offers mostly ballroom and Salsa shoes, but some of these can be used for Swing. Has locations in Santa Monica and Burbank.
- Helm’s Design District Vintage Boutique – If you live near Culver City, check this out and let me know how it is.
- Iguana Vintage Clothing has locations in Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, and Pasadena.
- Jet Rag – Thrift and vintage store on La Brea in mid-city L.A.
- Joyride Vintage for Men – Highly recommended vintage clothing store in Old Town Orange!
- Meow Vintage – Vintage clothing store in Long Beach.
- My Baby Jo – Vintage, retro, and rockabilly clothing. Perfect for Swing and Rockabilly dancers! Great selection of vintage dresses. Physical location is currently in the process of moving. SwingDance.LA Pick!
- Paper Moon Vintage – I read some great reviews of this place, located on Hollywood Blvd.
- Plainclothes Vintage – Vintage clothing in Burbank!
- Rag Mopp Vintage – Vintage clothing on Sunset Blvd in Silverlake.
- Re-mix Classic Vintage Footware – Great vintage shoes, located right here in L.A.! Women tell me this place has the most comfortable, most stylish Swing dancing shoes around (although they are pricey). That’s why it’s my SwingDance.LA Pick!
- Revamp – Vintage-inspired clothing made right here in Los Angeles!
- Santa Monica Vintage Fashion Expo – This event is held once per quarter at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. There is an entrance fee of $10, but you can get a $2 discount if you get on their mailing list. I haven’t been there in a while, so someone tell me if it’s still good.
- Unique Vintage – Has a good selection of 20s/30s flapper dresses as well as pinup dresses. They have a store in Burbank!
Here’s an article about vintage clothing stores in Long Beach.
Online Vintage Clothing Stores
- Bandini St. Etsy – Swing-themed headbands, flowers, and accessories, hand-made in Los Angeles! SwingDance.LA Pick!
- dancestore.com – Online Swing dance shoe store for men and women. This is the place to go for Swing dancing shoes. Return policy is good if anything doesn’t fit. A friend personally recommended this store to me. SwingDance.LA Pick!
- Jitterbuggin.com – Vintage clothing for women based in Portland, Oregon.
- Lindy Bop – Modern recreations of vintage styles. Based in the UK, but they ship to the U.S.
- Loco Lindo – Vintage inspired clothing for women. Looks like they have some nice dresses for swing dancing!
- Rare Revival Vintage – Great authentic women’s vintage clothing perfect for wearing out to your next Swing dance event. Run by my friend and frequent Swing dancer, Christina Coffey.
- Pinup Girl Clothing – More “pinup” than “Swing”, but interesting.
- Smokin’ Gun Vintage – My friend and frequent Swing dancer Christina runs this Etsy store featuring “mid-century modern, Art-Deco, rock ‘n roll, and mod” fashions! Check it out if you want something cool to wear when you go Swing dancing! SwingDance.LA Pick!
- Stacy Adams – Has men’s dress shoes that can be used for Swing dancing.
- SwingGear.co.uk – Has Swing dancing shoes for men and women. Based in the UK.
- Tatyana Boutique – Has NEW designs in a vintage style!
- Vintage Martini – Online only, but has a good selection. Based in Texas.
- Wear it Again Sam – Has a good selection of items (and a great name). Based in San Diego, but online only. No physical store. It’s worth checking out their site. Here is their Etsy store.
- Live Collegiate Shag music on Bandcamp – this site has Shag music selected by local dancer Kendall Roderick.
- Rockstep Radio – Online radio station with music for Swing dancers!
- Swungover – Has a great guide to men’s vintage haircuts.
- Women’s Swing Dance Shoe Hunt – The Lindy Loft started a Facebook group solely (no pun intended) dedicated to women’s Swing dance shoes.
- Retro Christmas Cards – Vintage Christmas cards and cards for other occasions.
- Vintage portrait photography – Get black and white headshots exactly how they looked in the 1930’s!
- Dave Welch’s Flickr Page – Oh my goodness, it’s hard to find a more complete and better collection of LA Swing dance photos than here.
- Steve Hwan’s Photography Blog – Tips on photographing swing dancers!
- Atomic Ballroom Blog – About all things related to partner dancing.
- Ickeroo – Blog by veteran So. Cal. Swing dancer Morgan Day, very interesting and entertaining.
- The Rantings of a Lindy Hopper – Alice Pye’s blog about the life of a Lindy instructor/dancer/promoter.
- Swing Spice Nice – Sierra Kane’s blog about the love of swing, balboa, vintage clothes, and other Swing-related thoughts.
- The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress – Blog of vintage author Tam Francis.
Please leave a comment below if you know of another resource that I’ve missed! I’ll be happy to add it to this list! Thanks! – Brian